Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Cherokee is powered by an upgraded version of the 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine from the previous model. It produces 177bhp and has huge amounts of pulling power, more than alternatives like the Land Rover Freelander and Nissan X-Trail. You certainly feel the benefit of that extra low down grunt on the road, with a good response in every gear, so progress can be surprisingly swift.

It's also fairly quiet, although does get a bit noisy at higher revs. Economy should be better too - the CRD unit only averages 34mpg with the manual gearbox while CO2 emissions are high too. A six-speed manual comes as standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional. The auto version actually comes with more pulling power (torque) than the manual, but the box is sluggish to kick down and although the changes up are smooth, it doesn't like to be rushed.

Compared to the previous Cherokee, the new model is much improved, both on and off road. There's better steering feel and body roll isn't as excessive. However in corners, it lacks the composure of other 4x4s and the steering still feels overly light with too much play on straight roads - but it's certainly more than acceptable. It's comfortable on the motorway though, thanks to soft suspension which soaks up rough surfaces and potholes well.

Of course, the Cherokee is also formidable off road and hugely capable over seemingly impossible terrain. It comes with hill-descent control which uses the anti-lock brakes to ensure the car doesn't go too fast on steep downward slopes.